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How do you make the most of journalism fellowship programs? Date: 05/13/21

By Melba Newsome

Journalism fellowships tend to be either reporting or residential. The intent is to make you a better journalist either by providing funding and other assistance for reporting projects, or the space to explore and create your own learning experience.  

Whether you’re just starting out or have been in the game for a while, fellowships are a great way to build on the work you’ve already done and enhance your knowledge and leadership skills for whatever comes next. Each fellowship taught me something and opened my eyes. 

Finding fellowship opportunities: 

ProFellow’s free-to-use database lists more than 1,300 global fellowship and funding award programs, and application deadlines and requirements. Google “journalism fellowships” and you’ll find many more. 

Application tips: 

Ask other fellows what gave them the edge. 

Discern the guiding principle of the fellowships that interest you. Studying the site and learning about past projects they’ve funded will give you a window into what they’re looking for.

Craft an essay that shows your uniqueness, experience and passion for your proposed project.

Think ambitious but doable. Your application should show that your project will stretch you as a journalist but can definitely be achieved in the allotted time.

Melba Newsome is an award-winning freelance writer. Her work has appeared in Time, O Magazine, ESPN Magazine, National Geographic, Wired and The New York Times. She is an AHCJ 2021 Health Performance Reporting fellow.